eCommerce Website Development Process 101
Let's unpack the eCommerce website development process with a simple process that turns any website into the best salesperson on the team.

If you’re an online retailer, then you’re probably aware of the trend toward eCommerce. The growth of eCommerce has been phenomenal; roughly 44% of internet users have purchased on a digital platform at some point in their lives. Even though the growth of eCommerce is vast, the eCommerce website development process can be tedious for newbies.

In this article, I will unpack the eCommerce website development process and share our simple process to help our clients build better online stores.

What is eCommerce?

Before we jump into the eCommerce website development process, let’s take a closer look at what eCommerce is and whether it’s a good fit for your business.

An eCommerce website is a website that lets customers shop online for products and services from online stores. It is similar to physical shopping experiences, but users can access products and services from any location and at any time. Many large companies have already adopted eCommerce for their business, and it is estimated that by 2025, 75% of the global retail market will be composed of eCommerce.

It is pretty conclusive that eCommerce is the way to go, but with so many options, strategies and methods, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. As a freelancer who has created over 100 eCommerce stores, I will take you on a step-by-step breakdown of my no-fail eCommerce website development process.

6 Critical Steps in the Ecommerce Website Development Process

As the popularity of eCommerce increases, so does the number of online stores. According to data from Google, there are currently about 2.5 million eCommerce sites worldwide. Aside from the apparent need to compete with other online stores, eCommerce sites need to stand out from the crowd. There are many ways to achieve this goal, but one foolproof method is to follow the steps outlined below.

01. Find a content management system that works for you and your business

I recommend WordPress as the perfect solution for an online store when choosing what platform to choose for your website. Why? Because it is straightforward to use and customise, has a wide range of templates and plugins, is customisable enough to build the perfect eCommerce platform, has a large community, and, most importantly, thousands of free and paid themes available to fit any need. Choosing WordPress as your platform is the first step in creating your eCommerce website. The next step would be selecting a store theme from the thousands of options. With so many choices, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your needs. To get started, look at the 26 best eCommerce WordPress themes available online.

02. Add a shopping platform to your website

Now that you have your favourite WordPress website theme, you need to add eCommerce functionality to it. WooCommerce is an excellent option for this. It is a powerful eCommerce plugin for WordPress that gives you the tools you need to turn your website into a full-featured eCommerce store. WooCommerce is the perfect tool for creating an online store, regardless of your business type. Whether you’re selling physical products, digital products like ebooks, or subscriptions, WooCommerce can help you build the perfect eCommerce website that can be easily managed remotely and on the go. And the best part is that WooCommerce is entirely free!

03. Configure your WooCommerce settings

Now that WooCommerce is safely set up in your WordPress theme, you need to adjust the WooCommerce settings. Doing this will make the software understand your business and its products better, giving you a personalised online store setup. For a step-by-step guide with helpful illustrations, visit this handy guide.

04. Upload your products

Now that WooCommerce understands your business better, it is time to introduce it to the products you want to sell online. At this part of the eCommerce website development process, you get to add each product to your website. This will entail adding important information like product descriptions, images, prices, product variations, etc.

To take you through this important step, let’s watch the creators of WooCommerce guide us through the steps.


05. Add the payment gateway

Great! Your store is set up correctly, and you have added your products. Now it is time to add your payment gateway. This is important as, without a payment gateway, customers won’t be able to pay online for the products you added in the previous step.

There are plenty of excellent payment gateway options in South Africa. Whether you’re looking for a fast and convenient option like PayFast, or something a little different like Peach, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your eCommerce store. To help you compare and find the best payment gateway, why not look at the top 10 options in South Africa, as voted by people like you – eCommerce store owners?

06. Test, Test, Test!

Even though this is technically not a required step for the eCommerce website development process, I would not recommend skipping it. By testing the eCommerce store, you will be able to identify issues that may cost you if it goes undetected. Ensure to enable the sandbox setting on your payment gateway when testing your store. This will allow you to checkout without using real money, as it uses fictional money instead.

After passing all the tests, the only thing left to do is disable the sandbox setting. Then you can sit back and watch the online sales grow daily.

Not sure what to do?

As much as I have tried to keep the steps straightforward, each one offers some complexity. You may feel overwhelmed at the thought of embarking on a solo trip through the eCommerce website development process. 

If so, let me help. I will turn your website into your team’s hardest-working and best salesperson.

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